After 14 customers filed separate disputes alleging misrepresentation and falsification of statements and records in variable annuity (VA) transactions, FINRA filed a complaint against broker Anthony Diaz alleging that while employed at Sandlapper Securities, LLC, he engaged in unethical conduct regarding VA exchanges with Lincoln Financial Group.
The complaint states that Lincoln specifically refused to appoint Diaz as an agent and, in an attempt to circumvent the rejection, Diaz knowingly allowed another Sandlapper representative to falsely list himself as broker of record.
The findings states Lincoln refused to appoint Diaz because of the "number of customer complaints against him" and number of firms in Diaz's history, some of whom terminated Diaz for various instances of alleged misconduct. Sandlapper, Kovak Securities, and SII Investments, Inc. all terminated Diaz for unauthorized trading in customer accounts while Edward Jones discharged him for providing inaccurate information to a field supervisor.
As we wrote about in 2013, a Wall Street Journal report found that brokers who left at least two expelled firms—a phenomenon called "cockroaching"—had over eight times as many arbitration claims against them than the industry average.
Though Diaz did not leave any expelled firms, his 14 active and pending customer disputes all filed between December 2014 and February 2015 and listed on BrokerCheck—plus 23 other disclosures before December 2014—are well over eight times the industry average. The 14 most recent disputes allege Diaz misrepresented guaranteed payments of interest, violated suitability requirements by recommending illiquid products, falsified records including net worth information, and engaged in forgery.
A separate pending regulatory action alleges Diaz recommended customers make VA exchanges without a reasonable basis for doing so, falsified financial information, violated suitability and concentration rules regarding illiquid products, altered a form and made intentionally or recklessly untrue statements of material fact.
This complaint alleges Diaz engaged in the misconduct throughout his employment at eight different firms: Edward Jones; Raymond James Financial Services, Inc.; First Allied Securities, Inc.; SII; Matrix Capital Group, Inc.; International Financial Solutions, Inc.; and Sandlapper Securities.
In 2014, Diaz lost in arbitration over claims he traded securities without investors' permission. For churning, unsuitable recommendations and misrepresentation, a FINRA arbitration panel ordered Diaz to pay $219,936.80 in compensatory damages. This followed two similar actions against Diaz for $99,936.80 and $31,000.
If you have invested with Anthony Diaz or with another broker or financial advisor whose unauthorized trading in accounts or misrepresentation, false statements, unsuitable recommendations of excess illiquidity or other misconduct related to VA transactions have proven harmful to your investments or interests, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for investigation and consultation.